ANIMAL welfare officers are appealing for neighbours to turn detective after a half-starved dog was found roaming a Runcorn estate.
The emaciated German Shepherd, christened Bessie by RSPCA staff, was discovered in Westwood Road, Windmill Hill, after householders spotted her desperately hunting for food in a garden.
The terrified dog weighed only 19kg - two-thirds the size of a healthy dog of her age. Her tail was also badly scorched.
RSPCA investigations officers are appealing for help to discover who owns the five-year-old dog.
Though Bessie was implanted with a microchip, investigations have so far drawn a blank. Bessie's last recorded owner advertised the dog for sale but couldn't remember who the buyer was.
By the end of the month RSPCA officers will be able to look for a hew home for Bessie - she is currently housed at the charity's dog pound in Warrington - but they are determined to track down and prosecute whoever was responsible for starving her.
RSPCA officer Nadine Pengilly told the Weekly News: 'Bessie was severely emaciated when we picked her up but now she is doing well once more.
'She is a lovely dog and should not have been allowed to get into this state.
'She was microchipped and we traced her owner to a Frodsham address but learned she had been sold to a lady in Runcorn's Murdishaw estate. However, the lady had been forced to sell the dog when she became pregnant and that it is where the trail became cold.
'We believe Bessie had only been with her new owners for three to four months, but had got to such a state where she was severely emaciated for a dog her size and had also suffered serious burns to her tail.
'We need information so that we can bring a cruelty case against whoever was responsible.'
Anyone with information can call the RSPCA hot-line on 0870 555 999 and ask for Nadine Pengilly.